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Zoning board approves deal that should end lawsuit by Jamaica Plain brewery against proposed senior-citizen apartments next door

A Zoning Board of Appeals ruling today should end a lawsuit that had blocked construction of a proposed-39-unit senior apartment building next to Turtle Swamp Brewing on Washington Street in Jamaica Plain.

The board approved a plan by developer New Atlantic Development to construct the five-story apartment building for the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corp. five feet away from the property line with the brewery, rather than right up to the property line, as part of an agreement the two had reached with Turtle Swamp Brewing owner John Lincecum and his landlord, Monty Gold.

To keep the same number of apartments, New Atlantic will shrink an "inset"that was designed to visually break up the building's "wall" along the brewery property line, New Atlantic owner Brian Goldson told the board before its vote to approve what it considered only minor changes to the project. He added that while this will mean the elimination of a small courtyard, it will also let the company put in windows on that side of the building.

Lincecum and Gold had sued to block the project after the zoning board approved the proposed five-story apartment building in February, 2021. The lawsuit sparked protests by people already upset at Gold's previous lawsuit against an even larger Pine Street Inn apartment building across the street.

Lincecum and Gold charged the new building might drive Turtle Pond out of business both because its construction would require blocking Turtle Pond's driveway/seating area - a charge the JPNDC and New Atlantic denied - and that the developers had only applied for the required zoning variances to maximize their profits somehow, on a building that would be rented to seniors making no more than 60% of the Boston area median income.

But last month, Lincecum, Gold, the developer and JPNDC reported to a Land Court judge they had reached a possible deal in mediation, and the judge agreed to send the whole matter back to the zoning board for its ratification, through a process intended for only minor modifications to a previously approved proposal.

In addition to the apartments, the new building will have space for El Embajador restaurant, which now sits in the site's current low-rise building.

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Comments

not like we’re in a housing crisis or anything

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Voting closed 54

Turdle Swamped

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Voting closed 24

Gold and Lincecum were such a-holes about this whole thing that I don't see myself ever visiting Turtle Swamp again. There are good neighbor businesses that deserve our support more.

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Same here. All of this could have been discussed/settled as part of the construction mitigation process rather than through a lawsuit.

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"All of this could have been discussed/settled as part of the construction mitigation process rather than through a lawsuit."

They tried that route and the developers would not meet their needs. They also appealed to the zoning board, who were willing to allow the developers to build while ignoring the industrial zoning requirements. The lawsuit was a last resort to ensure to ensure the developer made compromises they felt were necessary to continue business...this wasn't some nefarious ploy to keep poor/elderly people out of the neighborhood as the Twitterati would have you belive.

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Voting closed 29

To get someone to meet your needs you need to engage and negotiate. TS did not come to the table to talk to Pine St Inn or JPNDC. They complained and sued. That isn’t nefarious. It’s short sighted and expensive.

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Yep, I used to really like some of their beers. Haven't bought any of them since this mess first started.

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Voting closed 43

They were right. The project might drive the brewery out of business!

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The irony here is that there is a non-negligible number of seniors who will be occupying those 39 units who will love having a place to get a beer just a short walk away. The lawsuit was very shortsighted as a business decision.

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Voting closed 28

I’ll shed not one tear for Turtle Swamp who while fighting their neighbors and undermining attempts to build affordable housing shills inconsistent, mediocre clones of better beers. I wonder if between their community bridge burning and poor product they’ll crash like Down the Road Brewing in Everett.

I advised all my beer loving friends to avoid them on their products alone, but now get to do so with gusto for being pricks to boot.

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Voting closed 21

closed because their founder unexpectedly died. Aeronaut eventually bought and reopened the brewery. Was there some other issue that I'm unaware of there?

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Of course we need more housing and senior housing. Shouldn't the hate be on the zoning board and the zoning regulations? They're the ones who need to be sensible.

I'll still drink Turtle Swamp. They have a right to exist. They should not have to close their patio so that someone else can build.

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Voting closed 50

Congrats! Your friends won a meaningless lawsuit and eliminated planned green space the whole community could enjoy including those drinking at the glorified parking lot Turtle Swamp calls a patio.

Nothing about the construction plans prior showed any risk to Turtle Swamp’s own property and concerns like this could have been handled out of court like regular neighbors do every day. This was NIMBYism pure and simple. And it’s a real bad look in a city struggling with affordable housing and homelessness.

You should definitely celebrate by throwing back a few cold ones from Boston’s lowest-rated craft brewery whose latest collab with Professional NIMBY Agitator Monty Gold, Slum Lord Pale Ale, is just a repackaged flat Lagunitas.

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you just have to understand that there are going to be noisy senior citizens who might ruin your bar's mood. That's life in the city.

...is where I imagined the story going after I'd only read the lede.

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Voting closed 33

Good for John and Turtleswamp. Yes. 5' was worth the fight for him and his business. JPNDC can go elsewhere and had a milllion other projects to permit at the same time. This guy had the business and everything to lose. CONGRATULATIONS Turtleswamp! See you soon. All the people complaining here will be there this summer on a nice hot day when the food trucks are out. Don't think for a second they'll remember their "boycott".

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